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Thread: Photographing moving birds

  1. #1
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    Photographing moving birds

    I am going out to photograph birds next week. I have a 7D and a F4.2 70-200 lens I assume I will use the two stabilty modes in the lens. What are the best camera settings to get sharp crisp images??
    Any thoughts?
    Archie

  2. #2
    Rob Douglas's Avatar
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    As high a shutter speed as possible. Assuming you are shooting in daylight 1/1000 or 1/2000 or higher like 1/3200 if possible to freeze the wing while in flight of smaller birds. Shoot in AI servo mode to keep the bird in constant focus while you track it. For larger gliding birds like heron you can probably get away with 1/1000 or less as long as your panning technique is good.

  3. #3
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    Re: Photographing moving birds

    Hi Rob
    Thanks for you comments.
    I normally shoot most things manually and do use ISO 100 - What are you thoughts on that?
    Regards
    Archie

  4. #4
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    Re: Photographing moving birds

    Archie

    This is one of those occasions when you've got to use the ISO as a tool to get your shutter speed up. If you need to push the ISO well up in order to get the shutter speeds that Rob refers to, then that's what you do.

    I strongly suspect given the light we have here at the moment, that you're going to have to go well up from ISO100 to get those shutter speeds.

    And yes, you are right about the IS mode. But, if you're shooting at above 1/1000s anyway, the IS should be less relevant. You're going to be plenty fast enough.

  5. #5
    Rob Douglas's Avatar
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    Archie,

    Like Donald stated you're going to have to push the ISO up to achieve 1/2000 + in broad daylight 1/1000 will be around ISO 400 I'm thinking. 1/2000 800ish maybe 1600 or just under for 1/3200 but those ISO levels shouldn't be a problem in high light conditions whereas they would in dark conditions where under exposure could come into play in dark & shadow areas. I'm basing these Higher ISO levels off an f/8-f/11 aperture for better DOF.

  6. #6

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    Re: Photographing moving birds

    Ahhhh my favourite subject though my skills are lacking.

    Posted this in another thread some days back -
    ----------
    For bird photography -

    DOF - you need as much as you can get because most birds will not be on a parallel plane to get the whole in focus with a wide aperture. A good starting point would be f5.6-f11.

    Speed - unless the bird is quite large and moves slowly you will want as much speed as you can get. A good starting point will be 1/1000, preferably 1/1600 or higher.

    If you are unable to maintain those settings then up the ISO. On most DSLRs of the past 2 maybe 3 years, the higher ISO performance is pretty good. I regularly go to 1600 on my 550D. Do not worry too much about the noise. If the exposure is correct, the noise will clean up well in post and the loss of detail is quite insignificant.
    ----------

    With the 70-200 you will need to get close for good detail in the feathers.

    7D - some people have switched from AI Servo to AI Focus because of an issue they found.
    Focus - always go for the eyes. The head if too far off.
    Angle - avoid shots with the backside facing you unless there is an "artistic" reason to do so.

    If you need further info just holler.

  7. #7
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    Re: Photographing moving birds

    Many thanks to Bobo Donald and Rob for your help, I am going out to day to try this out today.
    Although it is rather dull dark day I am sure I can find some obliging little feathered friends.
    Many thanks
    Archie

  8. #8
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    Re: Photographing moving birds

    Hello Guys
    I have been out and tried the settings.
    To get shutter 1000 I am reading 900 against the sky (a reather dull day here) and 3200 against the hillside. Is this likely sive me a grainy image?
    Regards
    Archie

  9. #9

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    Re: Photographing moving birds

    What f-stop?
    What camera are you using?

    900 @ 3200 is not a good day for sure for bird shooting. You could try using flash.

  10. #10
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    Re: Photographing moving birds

    Archie...

    Here are links to another forum with a tutorial in three parts on photographing birds in flight that I consider the best I have ever read...

    http://photocamel.com/forum/tutorial...-exposure.html

    http://photocamel.com/forum/tutorial...-settings.html

    http://photocamel.com/forum/tutorial...ion-skill.html

    Good luck on your birds in flight photography...

  11. #11
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    Re: Photographing moving birds

    Hi Bobo
    Sorry for the delay celebrations has taken a toll. I am using a 7D, I cannot get any mare than 4.2 Fstop.
    What do you think?
    Archie
    All the best for 2012 from Scotland

  12. #12
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    Re: Photographing moving birds

    Hi Richard
    Thanks for the links and some good information for me to tryout. Seem a good site so I have put in my favourites.
    Many thanks and a good New Year to you and your folks.
    Archie

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